Vital Times 2017 - 79

Can you imagine taking your child in for a dental
procedure, not knowing that the dentist would be giving
general anesthesia while doing the dental procedure?
That there would be no anesthesia professional there who
could rescue your child's airway in an emergency? It seems
inconceivable, but it happens every day.
One of the keys to safe anesthesia is the concept of the
anesthesia care team, where physician anesthesiologists
work together with residents, or nurses, or CAAs. Two
heads often are better than one, and there certainly are
times when you need way more than two hands! That is
one reason why I've been such a strong supporter of CAA
practice for years, because I know you believe in the care
team concept as much as I do.
There are so many of us in California who would love to
have CAAs working with us every day. We are working to
make it happen! Unfortunately, it's tough in the blue states,
where politicians tend to be in the pockets of unions,
and nurses' unions are powerful. But we're not giving up!
Right now, we are starting plans for the first AA training
program in California. We have every hope that this will
be the pathway to educate our lawmakers about AAs, and
to demonstrate the quality of AA training. Ultimately,
we WILL MOVE California toward the goal of full CAA
licensure.
And on that note, let me emphasize a message that I
know you've heard before: Money is the mother's milk
of politics. I am so happy to hear that the AA students
here at Emory understand this fundamental truth: that
no advocacy effort can succeed without money and hard
work at the grass roots level to back it up. Please continue
to be involved. Keep up your AAAA membership. It's your
professional association, and it has your back. Get involved
in committee work. Donate to your political action fund.
That is the only way we can continue to expand CAA
practice, in California, and across the entire United States.

What advice should I leave with you?
Let's start with the Golden Rule - treat your patients
as you would wish to be treated. Emory graduation Use

plenty of local anesthesia before any needle stick, and
if your patient says ouch, use more. The most difficult
patients are nearly always that way because they're deeply
unhappy, or in pain, or frightened. Our challenge is always
to be kind, no matter what.
At the same time, be professional. Use your first and last
name when you introduce yourself. I cringe when I hear
any medical professional introduce herself to a patient as
"Suzy." That may be fine at the Waffle House, but not at
the hospital. Instead, say, "My name is Suzy Smith. I'm a
Certified Anesthesiologist Assistant, and I'll be working with
Dr. Jones today taking care of you."
Please don't go up to the bedside of patients 30 or 40 years
your senior, and start calling them by their first name. They
weren't brought up that way, and they may not like it. Say
Mr. or Ms. unless the patient specifically asks you to do
otherwise. Saying "Yes sir" or "Yes ma'am" doesn't hurt
either. Now that I think about it, you probably already have
good manners because we're in the South, but I can assure
you that in Los Angeles this is not always the case.
When you meet your patient in the preop area, after you've
properly introduced yourself, what's the first thing you
should do? Please don't say "put on gloves." First, wash your
hands. Then, touch your patient. Make human contact.
Shake hands, or touch your patient's arm. Listen carefully
to the patient's heart and lungs. You don't need to wear
gloves for any of this. Even the World Health Organization
says you should NOT wear gloves for contact that doesn't
involve blood, or mucous membranes, or body fluids. You
just need to wash your hands before you start and again
when you're finished. Human contact is such an important
part of anesthesia care, no matter how brief it may be. It
matters to your patients, and you may be surprised how
much it will mean to you over time.
Learn to enjoy the company of surgeons. Many jokes are
made about surgeons. "Often wrong, but never unsure"
is one of the more repeatable ones. Some of the more
malignant and abusive traditions of past surgical training
have eased up, so they've become less arrogant. But a
(continued)

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